New & Interesting: This gender-fluid new face brings fearlessness to set

Growing up Shaheem Anderson never saw people who looked like him on the pages of fashion magazines. Now, with major editorial due out, this Chicagoan is the latest addition to the new wave of models out to change the industry’s standard of beauty.


Who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
My name is Shaheem Anderson, I’m a gender-fluid artist from Chicago pursuing modeling.

How did your career get started?
My first experience with modeling began at school shooting with the student photography club. I then began to gain traction on social media and worked some freelance projects before I was scouted on Instagram by Factor|Chosen.

What unique quality do you think you bring to the table?
Other than my unique look, I always bring my playful confidence and sense of fearlessness to set. I love collaborating with other artists on new ideas and creating beautiful images.

Who was the first artist to make a big impression on you?
Alexander McQueen and Grace Jones were my first two loves. McQueen was the first designer to make a strong impression on me – I love the fantasy of his shows and his rebellious attitude. I have always admired Grace’s strong presence and how she chooses to express herself.

Who was the last artist to make a big impression on you?
I really respect and admire Ru Paul – I love that he promotes being comfortable in your own skin and overcoming your “inner saboteur”.

What has been the biggest surprise or learning curve in the industry so far?
I’ve realized that this industry isn’t as intimidating as I expected it to be. I used to be teased as a kid about the way I looked and how I acted, but I’ve come to find out those are the things that the modeling industry has embraced as my strongest features.

What motivates you?
Where to start? I want to be a representative for change in this industry. Growing up, I didn’t see models who looked like me in the pages of magazines or in beauty campaigns. My goal is to change the standard of beauty and how people think a male model should look.

What distracts you?
My personality is naturally very “Type A” – I feel like I am at a point in my life where I don’t have time to be distracted.

What/who is under-appreciated?
I think young creatives can be under-appreciated. There have been so many times that their services have been under paid or not paid at all. From my personal experience, I remember working as a freelance model on some projects where everyone on the job was getting paid except for me. Now being represented by an agency, it’s like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and I feel more taken care of.

What’s the best experience you’ve had in fashion?
My first big jump into this industry was walking in JoyRich x Snoop Dogg’s fashion show in LA. I’d never walked in a fashion show before and it was such a surreal experience – I knew I wanted more after that.

What project are you working on now/next?
I was just recently in New York for the first time working on my first major magazine editorial – I’m really excited to see how it turns out! I fell in love in with the energy and the hustle of New York, I’m hoping to go back soon.

Photography – Jingyu Lin for
Styling – Laura Gordon
Hair & Makeup – Caitlin Krenz
Model – Shaheem Anderson @ Factor/Chosen Chicago ()

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  • Gia

    He IS a SUPERmodel !